I have been SICK, dear readers, and I feel like I have just missed out entirely on this lovely between-Christmas-and-New-Years time. I always like this time of year, when a lot of people are not working and kids are home from school and we are over the busy intensity of Christmas preparations but there is still a residual holiday mood that lingers with the pretty decorated tree that hasn't been denuded of lights and ornaments and sent away to be turned into mulch yet. Such a nice, fun, quiet time of year... Anyway, I have just entirely MISSED IT this year because of a cruel, cruel stomach bug. First Violet got it, then Grace, then me, and somehow Rob (with his immune system steeled by years spent in hospitals crawling with disease) managed to get by with just some gurgle-y stomach feelings. This is even more surprising because I just got an email from my parents telling me that they got sick too, being exposed to us during their Christmas visit. They left right as Violet was first getting sick--apparently not soon enough.
So here we are, at the end of 2009, and yet another New Year's Eve has snuck up on me. I had better reason, or at least a happier reason, last year but again I find myself surprised by the end of year and planning on nothing too exciting. At least last year I managed a glass of wine; I'm not sure if my stomach can handle even that at this point. It's been all Gatorade and saltines and plain rice today. The food has all stayed where it belongs, though, so that's a step in the right direction. And whether I feel prepared for it or not, 2010 is on its way!
I know there are those among of us who like to split hairs and insist that the decade we are in now will not end until a year from now, that we start counting at 1 and thus we have another year to live in the 2000's. Be that as it may, the rolling over of the numbers from 9 to 0 seems somewhat momentous and thus, I shall recount ten things that I have done in the last ten years (inspired by Dawn, who writes a thoughtful mothering- and adoption-oriented blog). It's been a big decade for me, full of SERIOUS life changes. January 31, 1999 found me 21 years old in New York City-- in Times Square itself, actually, watching the ball drop in person in a cold, bundled-up mass of humanity with friends from my college improv comedy troupe. I was pretty sure that the whole Y2K thing wasn't going to spell the end of the world, had recently broken up with my fiance, and had one more semester left at college. Ten years later, I will not be in quite as glamorous a location. Too bad I'm so boring now, right? The past decade has not been boring, though; that's for sure...
- I got a bunch of degrees and really loved getting them. I was so happy as an undergrad with my goofy friends and my physics classes, and then enjoyed my time in graduate school with my fun project and advisor and fellow graduate students.
- At the end of all of that, I figured out that the academic research life was in fact not the right one for me and I didn't want to be on that fancy-schmancy career track. Looking back, I was never 100% committed to that life but I feel confident that I gave it an honest try, enjoyed it while I was there (well, up until my postdoc job), and will be able to use that experience to do other, non-big-time-research stuff that is a better match for me.
- I learned to love sushi, and beer, and kale, all things that 21-year-old me would have insisted are yucky.
- I got married. I started dating Rob right at the beginning of those ten years, actually, with our first date in January 2000. Wow, we have been together for 10 years now!
- I had two babies, who changed who I am forever and are the sweetest funniest prettiest best babies on the planet.
- I lost my first grandparent, and am happy to close out these 10 years with the other three still part of my life.
- I changed a lot of what I put on and in my body, how I cook, what I buy, and how I live in efforts to be kind to my body and the planet and whatnot. I could certainly do better, but I'm in a more mindful place than I was 10 years ago.
- I (well, really "we") bought two houses and ended up regretting it both times. Stupid housing market! It is fun to be homeowners, though-- to get to paint and decorate and have a place that is your own. Not really enough fun to balance losing money on houses, of course (and losing money on our house here is not a given yet), but there you go. We are still waiting for those time machines to be able to go back and tell the 2005 and 2008 versions of ourselves to NOT BUY A HOUSE.
- I was part of the very biggest church I have ever attended and the very smallest church I have ever attended. One felt much more like home than the other, but both experiences have taught me things about myself and this community we call Christianity.
- I moved away from Texas for the first time and then back. It's been tough being back in a lot of ways, but living so much of my life here has definitely had a big impact on who I am and how I view the world.